Doing it Right
- Collect seeds from a variety of plants in the Lab
- Process seeds for storage in the Lab’s Seed Library
Did you think that saving seeds was as simple as pulling them from the plant, tossing them in a container, and shelving them until next season? Well, that’s not quite how it works but the process isn’t much more difficult than that.
Most seeds are dried on the plant initially, then harvested, separated from the unwanted bits, and then stored until needed. The process involves flailing, threshing, winnowing, and screening. It sounds far more violent than it actually is!
But with viable seeds in hand, you hold the key to next year’s harvest, one that promises to be more vigorous and fruitful than the last. And what could be more empowering than that!
Teach the Teacher
- Seed Harvesting and Processing Techniques
- DIY Seed Screens
Tools & Materials
- Seed storage - paper bags, envelopes, reseal-able plastic bags, or mason jars
- Seed screens (optional)
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with a brief review of the seed harvesting process for each variety that is ready. Describe how the seeds will be processed. It might be necessary to demonstrate the actions to the Students before asking them to try it.
Activity (10 minutes)
Have the Students harvest seeds from the selected plants. If necessary, store them in a paper bag for a month to finish drying. Then have the Students complete the processing phase and transfer the clean seeds to the containers you intend to store them in.
Discussion (10 minutes)
Where should we store our seeds? Where can we control the temperature, keep them out of direct sunlight, and ensure that they will not experience high humidity? What do you think might happen if our seeds get too hot? Sit in direct sunlight for too long?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you know how to harvest and process seeds?
- Now that you’ve learned the process for harvesting and processing seed, how many of you think you could do this at home by yourself?
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